University Recreation Center to break ground next semester

Oct 2nd, 2009 | By | Category: News, Top Story

by Zach Becker

She pauses, reflects, and smiles. Director of Campus Recreation Cindi Barnett’s dream is close to becoming a reality.

It started as mere speculative conversation between her and some of the student workers in Campus Recreation six years ago and, through years of dedication, she has helped it materialize into the roughly $23 million and over 90,000 square feet University Recreation Center set to break ground next semester.

The facility, which will be located near JQH Arena where tennis courts now stand, will have an indoor jogging track, basketball courts, multipurpose rooms, a fitness center, a swimming pool, locker rooms, and a climbing wall, among other features.

“It’s just real exciting for me,” said Barnett, her passion and enthusiasm for the project evident in her voice. “Being in on all the planning; thinking about what do we want, where we want it in the building.”University Recreation Center

However, she is most excited for the students of Missouri State.

“More than anything, I think the students are going to embrace it,” she said. “Obviously, we have recreation all over the campus, but we don’t have a central place for students. It’s kind of the next step as far as Campus Recreation goes.

“Once it opens, the students will be going, ‘Yeah, we needed this. This is Missouri State.’”

Growing Campus Recreation from its origins in a small, nondescript office in Plaster Student Union, Barnett takes great pride in the myriad of services her department now provides and the new facility it will soon call home.

“Campus Rec used to be a very, very little tiny room,” she said. “Nobody knew it was there; didn’t even have a sign on the wall. The only activity that we did for students at that time recreation-wise was fraternity intramurals. We have all kinds of things for students to do now.”

Today, Campus Recreation provides countless activities for students, in everything from intramural basketball to Kung Fu to ballroom dance to hiking.

Through it all, Barnett has kept Campus Recreation focused on its customers, the students.

From the initial planning stages of the University Recreation Center, student input has dictated which features will and will not be included.

“We’ve had to pick and choose,” Barnett said. “We went to the students and said, ‘You tell us.’”

Through surveys and presentations to focus groups, students showed strong support for a state-of-the-art recreation center and showed they were willing to pay for the new facility through the passage of a student fee referendum in Fall 2006.

The project was originally slated as an estimated $16.5 million renovation of McDonald Arena. However, state budget cuts forced a change of plans. Given students had already began to pay the student fee in Fall 2007 for the promised University Recreation Center, plans for an all-new facility were developed instead.

The construction project should take about 18 months, giving the facility a projected opening for Fall 2011.

Students who graduate before the completion of the University Recreation Center will be allowed to come back and use the facility for a time equal to the number of semesters they paid into the building’s student fee.

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